DeSantis Officials Say Florida Won’t Pay Disney’s Debt, but There’s No Plan Yet

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Republicans have removed Walt Disney Co.’s privileges. The DeSantis administration insists Florida taxpayers will not be responsible for large debts. As legal questions continue to mount, however, the governor has yet to provide any details.

Officials from DeSantis claim that a plan for how the state will handle Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District will be released “in the coming weeks.” Reedy Creek claims the state’s new law that targets Disney is against the original state agreement. According to Fitch Ratings’ latest advisory, this means that $1 billion worth of bond debt could be at risk. This could put at risk the economic future of the special district.

Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson of DeSantis, stated that Disney would pay its fair portion of taxes and that the removal of the special area from Florida law will not cause tax increases for residents. She replied that she would provide more details as soon as possible.

It took the GOP-led Florida Legislature three working days to pass the bill. GOP legislators stressed the fact that the bill gave the state and company an entire year to address complex tax issues.

Florida’s Disney versus Florida story was rewritten when Reedy Creek challenged Florida’s legality in dissolving the special district. The entertainment company was able to build its own structures and collect taxes.

Reedy Creek officials cited a prior agreement between Florida’s special district (and the state) that could have prevented Florida from changing its status until the bond obligations are paid.

Fitch Ratings has estimated that Reedy Creek has $1 billion in outstanding debt. This debt is a burden Democrats believe could be transferred by the special districts to Orange and Osceola Counties, near Disney World. Fitch Ratings has placed Reedy Creek in a “rating monitoring negative” status after the Legislature passed the Disney punishment measure. This is essentially a warning to investors.

Fitch issued a cautionary notice on Thursday. Fitch warned that Florida’s decision not to dismantle Reedy Creek could cause bondholder uncertainty. If the state does not find a solution, it could change our view of Florida’s commitment to “preserve bondholder rights” as well as “weakening our view regarding Florida’s operating environment for government.”

Reedy Creek’s supervisors met Wednesday for the first time since repeal. They provided few answers if any.

Don Greer, a board member stated that “there is nothing I can do about it” but that no one knows how to fix it.

DeSantis administration and local governments deny that tax increases could affect residents and local government. They claim that the idea was propagated by the media to be partisan politically. ”

Pushaw wrote: “If it is true, the repealing special districts would give Disney an income tax cut, and local taxpayers will be responsible for paying for this bailout to help Disney… why would Disney object to the idea of repealing special district?” “Indeed. If this were true, why would Disney not lobby to get rid of the special district years earlier? ”

Rep. Charlie Crist (D.Fla. Charlie Crist (D.Fla. Crist stated that Reedy Creek would be absorbed into his county.

Crist said, “I thought Republicans should be against tax increases,” at an event this week.

DeSantis, Florida Republicans, and Florida Democrats were the ones who abolished Disney’s special status to oppose the Parental Rights in Education Bill. This bill bans teachers from teaching students sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBTQ advocates say it has the potential for increasing bullying and suicide among youth. GOP lawmakers claim that the bill is necessary to give parents more power.

DeSantis opposes “woke” culture in schools and companies. These efforts were outlined in several new laws, which were passed in 2022. These laws focus on how students learn more about race and gender identity.

DeSantis has criticized the “Don’t Say Gay” criticisms. DeSantis also disagrees about recent statements by Disney executives regarding their efforts to include diverse characters within their content. These comments were made by Christopher Rufo (a conservative activist) in company Zoom calls.

DeSantis said Wednesday that “essentially that arrangement was corporate welfare — There was no question” at a Las Vegas event to support Adam Laxalt (Nevada Senate hopeful).

“It was totally unfair to all companies in Florida. This also meant that my state and this corporation were joined at the hip. I will not be able to have a relationship with you if your intention is to inject sexuality into the programming for these young kids”.